National War College Thesis

National War College Thesis-84


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If we can't tell whether a particular situation counts as war, …

we lose our collective ability to place meaningful restraints on power and violence" (22).

When, she asks, does a military response encroach on the realm of law enforcement?

Brooks illustrates the effects of the Do D's broadened definition of the purview of the military, from the legal difficulties of running detention centers in Cuba and Afghanistan to the Pentagon's establishment of a modern information operations team.

Turning to the part played by new technologies in accelerating the military's involvement in non-traditional combat, Brooks describes the advent of remotely-piloted aircraft (viz., "drones").

Like other cyber weapons, drones lower the financial, political, and reputational costs of war.

In particular, the invocation of the nebulous term "terrorism" has been used to justify the use of military force against foes who did not even exist in 2001.

Brooks contends that, in a time when war has become a default state of affairs, a nation's citizens are more apt to endorse actions they would not condone in peacetime: "morality and law begin to lose their guiding force….

In her most recent book, Professor Rosa Brooks (Georgetown Law) ponders the wisdom and consequences of the United States' being in a perpetual state of war and routinely using the military instrument to achieve other than strictly military goals.

Her experience working in the Department of Defense (Do D) Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Office informs her argument throughout.


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